What I learned this week, September, 9, 2011

I have gathered a garland of other men’s flowers, and nothing is mine but the cord that binds them.


An economic crisis is nature’s revenge on those who make and those who accept false promises; it is a holocaust of lies when the dross is burned away and only what is real and true remains. Think of cotton candy melting and charring in the flame of a blowtorch; that is what is happening to the secure retirements that “caring” blue politicians and “committed” blue union leaders promised gullible state workers.

—- from Rhode Island Pension System Collapsing – by Walter Russell Mead (read the whole thing)

I seem to be linking to Walter Russell Mead a lot.

How Bikes Could Transform Dallas

Constructing a city for the car alone shackles all to the burdens of car ownership and maintenance costs. In a city with a poverty rate of 23 percent and household transportation costs approaching 25 percent of income, fewer and fewer can afford to participate in the local economy, getting from point A to point B, without a miserable two-hour DART bus commute. Without choice in the transportation network, Sun Belt cities will go the way of the Rust Belt. A monoculture of transportation follows a monoculture of the very industry that produced it into collapse. Nobody thought Detroit would collapse when it was dubbed the Paris of the West. Paris, however, is alive and well. And so is bicycling in that world-class city.

—-From D MagazineBicyclist

The Shortlist for the 2011 Man Booker Prize is out:

The six books, selected from the longlist of 13, are:

Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape – Random House)

Carol Birch Jamrach’s Menagerie (Canongate Books)

Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers (Granta)

Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues (Serpent’s Tail)

Stephen Kelman Pigeon English (Bloomsbury)

A.D. Miller Snowdrops (Atlantic)

I have not read any of these. Have to take a good look (don’t think I can read all of them in time). Any recomendations?

You don’t have to know what it is that you are eating in order to have a delicious meal.

Writing Tips for the Week

Eight Secrets Which Writers Won’t Tell You

by Ali

  • Secret #1: Writing is Hard
  • Secret #2: We All Struggle With Procrastination
  • Secret #3: We Put Ourselves Into Our Work
  • Secret #4: First Drafts are Always Crap
  • Secret #5: Each Piece Exists in a State of Flux – and it’s Never “Finished”
  • Secret #6: We Do it Because We’re Obsessed
  • Secret #7: Money does matter
  • Secret #8: We All Struggle With Self-Doubt

I had forgotten how much I enjoy a good, steep hill.

Even a titan like Starbucks is struggling in this difficult economy.

Yet, the little Vietnamese Coffee Shops in San Jose are thriving.

What could be the difference?